Courtroom Backroom Collaboration: Southern California Forests

Here’s the link.

Here’s an idea. If the FS has to analyze an alternative proposed by a litigo-collaborative group, wouldn’t it have been more cost effective to analyze it right away as part of the rest of the NEPA rather than draw this out.. how many years have these poor folks been planning? Which would be an argument for analyzing both a collaborative group’s alternative and the “likely litigator’s” alternative upfront. Then we’d just have to think up a “more intrusive” alternative, and call it good.

The process seems to be:
Government tries really hard to write a perfect document
Groups who want control find flaws
Sit down with DOJ and make a deal

Leaving out the FS (well they are talking to DOJ but..), the public, Congress and other elected officials other than the ones influencing DOJ (current administration) Wish the political science folks were still here on this blog to talk about the “separation of powers” but as I recall, when things get out of balance with courts and executive, it is time for Congress to step in.

And back to our collaboration topic, by the same logic as Macfarlane suggested, then developing a proposal with groups as part of a settlement would also “violate NEPA..” But could that be, since it’s apparently ordered by a court? The non-legal mind boggles.

U.S. Forest Service officials could add 80,000 acres of wilderness areas in the four Southern California national forests — which would prohibit road building, commercial development and mountain biking — and ban motorized vehicles from another 300,000 acres.

The proposal is part of a settlement between the Forest Service and seven environmental groups that sued in 2008 over the agency’s decision to allow road building and off-highway vehicles in remote roadless areas.

The San Bernardino, Cleveland, Angeles and Los Padres national forests, which total 3.5 million acres, would be affected. Those forests, all near urban areas, are among the most popular in the country for recreation, drawing more than seven million visitors a year.

The proposal is outlined in a draft of the Forest Service’s management plan. An environmental analysis of the plan is open to public comment through May 16. The Forest Service will hold a public meeting on the topic March 28 at the San Bernardino National Forest headquarters.

Three alternatives are proposed:

Alternative 1 would make no changes.

Alternative 2, preferred by the Forest Service, would establish backcountry areas where no motorized vehicles would be allowed. The zoning would allow bicycling and makes an exception for road construction for tasks such as forest fuels management. It would not remove vehicle access where it is already allowed, however. The largest portion — 300,000 acres — would be in the Los Padres National Forest, headquartered near Santa Barbara.

Alternative 3, the most restrictive, recommends additional wilderness, a designation ultimately made by Congress. This would ban off-road vehicles, mountain bikes and construction of new roads and prohibit installation of cellphone towers, radio repeaters and microwave reflectors. This is the proposal favored by environmentalists.

Hmm. I guess it you have no timber, grazing, or oil and gas, you have to go after mountain bikes, fuel treatments and cellphone towers. Maybe we can see the ultimate endgame for some, as proposed for Southern California.

1 thought on “Courtroom Backroom Collaboration: Southern California Forests”

  1. “The Government tries really hard to write a perfect document”. That would be the problem. After the public comment period DEIS for the 15 year plan, the government changed sweeping portions of their land plan and hid behind well meaning forest employees ordered to do so and take the wrap. -A wrap in a few cases that could potentially be Federal Racketeering. Largely this was done to accommodate huge energy related deals that had not been disclosed to the public right on the back of the Energy Act of 2005 begating the Westwide Energy Cooridore and a few other cooridores of convenience by energy. Google also Mike Christman March 15, 2006, and the S Ca Land management plan suit. For example Scenic Integrity models were “estimated” but do you see the word “estimate” written on their maps and numbers? You can also put quotes around the word field, in the phrase, field checking. We discovered land classes changed and confirmed that the people who changed them had not been there (aka “arbitrary and capricious”) and had been ordered to find routes for energy cooridores post public release of the DEIS. The FEIS even contained statuses ie “Backcountry motorized used restricted” that the public had not seen before. Why would foresters submit to an order like that when they likely love the land and much as you and I? You are the one with the FS blog, I hope you can tell us. The holes from these showed up in the FEIS maps unexplained; but the reasons showed up on SDG&E;s Sunrise Powerlink maps 2.5 years later like the donut around the hole as perfectly fitting puzzle pieces. Sooo someone inside the FS knew quite a while before the public was informed and pointed the process in the favor of the energy infrastructure’s demands. That is not to implicate them however. It almost certainly did not get conceived and intiated there. Nepa says you have to have enough info to make an informed decision and clearly this was not the case. The energy goons stand clean cut and professional every time while they hide behind he biggest characters they can find.(That be you and I) Count on it. Ibid Enron. The Energy goones and the former admin’s dogs in washington (hint Haliburton assoc) would love to pit you and I so we don’t stay friends and work together to expose them; but in truth we were all played together to their advantage. I could be momentarily flattered but in truth, We, at least myself, my life was never that interesting, my knowledge, pride notwithstanding, that good and important until they had a reason for us to be. I don’t care if you have never been off the pavement and couldn’t care less about the “woods”, this plan was at the hands of people “way up there” who ultimately could care less about your civil rights or your public resources. With that we are twins of different parents but very much alike. We have made huge progress in a win win for the lands plan, and by far in so doing our combined efforts together with a lot of courage, is the best antidote, when we pull together, they loose ground: The biggest challenge is to make huge progress in communication between ourselves. Yes some of the things you allude to aretrue but they were exposed as well. You and I and the many like us need to constantly be aware, or at least re-adapting, unfortunately , in this day and age, if you are angry at someone, there is a good chance that a good seasoned “chess player” (such as Haliburton and other OPEC royalty) WANT us to be. With as much as 70 billion on the line in Southern Ca alone what are the chances they don’t? Disagree with the plan options as your heart directs but Please don’t be one of them! If you want to disarm, then communicate!They are totally counting on you and I not to. They don’t need the money, they want the power. He who as the power over the power has the power over every legislative body in the world. Put the power on the roof and the power over the power is “we the people”. But we the people can only be “WE” if “WE” are communicating. The biggest problem I’ve had is in getting the FS to open up before they jump to conclusions and marginalize before talking and checking things out, I hate to say it, but sometimes particularly for women. Some of my fav peop’s are FS , and some of the disappoitments as well. I now know that a lot of them have a lot of unscrupulous pressure on them. (aka extortion , blackmail, and bribery, and often leveraged via internal social intimidation, etc.)


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